05 May 2020, 15:07
Edgar Meza Julian Wettengel

State energy ministers call for investments in renewables, grid and hydrogen as part of coronavirus recovery

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s state energy ministers have called on the federal government to increase incentives for investments in the energy transition as part of an effort to put the economy back on a growth path following the coronavirus crisis. In a video conference with economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier, the ministers presented a position paper – seen by Clean Energy Wire – calling for investment incentives for renewable energies, intelligent power grids and the hydrogen infrastructure. "The energy transition can become an important growth engine in overcoming the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis,” said Andreas Pinkwart, North Rhine-Westphalia’s economy and energy minister. Pinkwart also called on the federal government to “urgently abolish the 52 GW cap on support for solar facilities […] and significantly reduce the burden on electricity consumers, for example by reducing the electricity tax and the EEG surcharge”, the country's levy paid by power consumers to finance renewables support.

Commenting on Monday’s energy ministers' meeting, Ingbert Liebing, managing director of the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU), echoed the call for measures to boost Germany’s economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. “The energy transition is an important lever in this context, firstly to revive the economy, secondly to advance climate action and thirdly to strengthen the local economy through local value creation.” Liebing called for a more efficient approval process for renewable energy projects, noting, for example, that wind farms with an installed capacity of some 1.2 gigawatts (GW) and a combined investment of around 1.3 billion euros remained stuck in the approval process.

As the coronavirus crisis drives many governments across the globe to introduce emergency plans to cushion the immediate economic effects, there are growing calls to align any mid and long-term stimulus efforts with climate targets. Germany's top politicians and many large companies have thrown their weight behind such a green stimulus.

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Sven Egenter

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